Weekend Fun: Hideaway Offers Artistic Treasures

by Jo Anne Disney
September 18, 2013 • 302 views

Surrounded by spectacular views of the countryside lies the town of Harmony.  A narrow dirt road leads to the town, aligned with trees and quaint old buildings.  Nestled off Highway 1, this artistic hideaway has a total population of 18 as last recorded and its history is fascinating.

The town of Harmony was founded in 1869 by Swiss immigrants, who believed the fertile hills and climate were ideal for dairying.  Legend has it that “until 1907 the creamery had changed hands several times.  During these early days, rivalries and feuding among dairy farmers caused chaos in the valley.  After one shooting death, a truce was called.  All agreed to live henceforth in harmony, and from this the name of the town was derived.”

In 1901 M. H. Salmina established the Harmony Valley Co-operative Dairy.  Much of the town of Harmony’s economy was sustained with this business for almost 90 years.

At its peak, the town consisted of a large residence for management, bunkhouses for employees, a general store, a livery and stable, a blacksmith, a feed store, a school house and a post office.

Harmony’s dairy has been said to have produced milk, cream, butter and the best cheese around.  According to the town’s archives, one of their best customers was William Randolph Hearst, who used to stop off for fresh diary products on his way to his ranch.

By the late 1950s, events forced the diary to close.  The town of Harmony was abandoned except for the post office, which has remained open since 1914.

Then, thanks to new owners, in 1972 the town of Harmony began a restoration making it an arts and craft center.  Visitors from all around stop in and check out the largest selection of hand thrown pottery on the Central Coast at “Harmony Pottery,” which also serves as a studio and gallery.  This shop offers one-of-a-kind pieces in porcelain, stoneware, Raku, jewelry and more.

Today Harmony houses an award winning winery as well, called “Harmony Cellars” which is open daily.  At the winery you will find a tasting room offering their “liquid gold” among other fine wines and a great selection of gourmet foods.

If you are looking for that one-of-a-kind artistic piece for your home, a unique gift, or if you just need a tranquil place to unwind, Harmony is the place to visit.  Sit back and relax with a glass of wine and enjoy the view.

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